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Pride’s Got Talent: Meet the Emerging Artists and Hear from the Judges

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Winner Ring The Alarm, runner-up KHALYSIS and BMGPM judging panel, on taking part in PGT 2022 and what it means for underrepresented music talent

Pride’s Got Talent: Meet the Emerging Artists and Hear from the Judges

Pictured above: Ring The Alarm


For 10 years, Pride’s Got Talent has been unearthing emerging talent and giving them the opportunity to perform at Pride in London. 

Pop/R&B girl band Ring The Alarm won this year’s competition, winning a slot supporting a headliner at Pride. For 2022, the PGT Music winner was also awarded the opportunity to write and record an EP for sync with BMGPM producers - three of whom made up part of the judging panel at the competition. The winners will also be joining runner-up KHALYSIS in performing at BMG’s London offices as part of their Pride showcase. 

In this interview with LBB’s Sunna Coleman, we hear from BMGPM’s creative and licensing manager, Megan Lawrenson as well as in-house producers John Roffe-Ridgard and Scott  Rockingham, who share their experience with Pride’s Got Talent and reveal how they’ll be working with the artists to give them the tools and knowledge that they need to have a successful and diverse career in the music industry.

We also hear from the winners of PGT 2022, Ring The Alarm and runner-up KHALYSIS, on what this competition means to them, what inspires them creatively, and what’s next on the horizon.


Pictured above: KHALYSIS

LBB> Firstly, tell us how BMGPM got involved with Pride’s Got Talent this year?

Megan> I first got involved with Pride’s Got Talent back in 2018 when I was working as a live music promoter. When I joined the BMG Production Music team in 2021, I was keen to use my new role to bring even more value to the competition and immediately set about developing a relationship between BMG and Pride.  

PGT is a real process where the artists are supported and nurtured in the long term, regardless of where they place in the competition, and I’ve loved being able to provide more opportunity and industry insight to the artists participating this year. I’m so excited that we can build on that reputation further, by supporting our winners, Ring The Alarm, with an EP which we will be actively pitching for sync placements, plus inviting both our winner and runner-up to perform a showcase at BMG London offices.

Scott> Being presented the opportunity to be on the judging panel at the competition on the music side was hugely exciting as a producer, not only to potentially discover new talent but also to support a fantastic organisation. 

 

LBB> What was it like being asked to judge this year’s competition and what was your experience?

 Scott> On one hand, it’s essentially what I do in my day job – checking out and providing guidance on new music (albeit with a live audience!). On the other hand, I’ve never been on a competition judging panel before, but we were made to feel so welcomed and the whole event was a lot of fun!  

John> It was great! Like Scott, I had never judged talent on a panel before so it was exciting to try something new. Essentially a lot of our job is judging talent, though by the nature of Production Music this can be quite faceless, communicating with the artist via email and file sharing. It was super refreshing and exciting to be seeing a full performance, meeting the performers, and working with other judges to narrow down a winner.

Megan> I judged the West-End final this year and by this point in the competition, the excitement was palpable, and the level of talent so high! All the finalists were so different stylistically, so it was a tough decision to make, but they all deserved that incredible experience performing on a West-End stage!

 

LBB> What did you think of the talent this year?

John> They were SO good. So many well-crafted performances, great tracks, well-choreographed routines. It was such an entertaining evening followed by quite a spirited debate with the judges.

Megan> The level of talent this year was really impressive. Pride’s Got Talent is known for shining a spotlight on underrepresented talent, but this year was off the charts. 

Scott> Honestly, I was blown away by the quality. It just goes to show how many great artists there are out there that are somewhat undiscovered by the industry.


LBB> Why are events like this so important to the industry?

Megan> It’s really tough to stand out as an emerging artist these days. Although there are so many tools and platforms for self-promotion available, it can be overwhelming navigating all of that on your own. Artists have a real mountain to climb; finding their own sonic and stylistic identity, developing their writing, honing their craft live on stage, building a team that can help them climb ‘the ladder’. PGT is a fantastic platform for artists to gain access to a myriad of opportunities, but also to grow a network of industry professionals, who may be able to offer some wisdom and help guide them along the path to success.

Scott> For us, not only is it important to support programs such as PGT in the hope we can positively affect inclusivity in some way, but it is also hugely important for us to offer opportunities to underrepresented musicians and try to change the landscape of our industry to one that is reflective of our society. 

John> It would be hard for us to diversify our roster of composers without diversifying how we source our talent, so being invited into this event was super important. 

 

LBB> Ring The Alarm won this year’s competition - what was it about them that made them stand out?

Scott> Energy off the scales, hugely well rehearsed and tracks that are pure anthems. The whole audience was completely engaged in the performance which shows how RTA just possess something special.

Megan> RTA are a must-see live! It’s the best way to fully appreciate the attention to detail they’ve woven through their performance. Their energy is incredible, their music is original, they have such great style as individuals and as a band, and they’re obviously super hard working; all of that paired with their undeniable talent is a recipe for success in my eyes! 


LBB> KHALYSIS were runners up, what did you love about their work?

John> KHALYSIS were my top choice for sure on the night. Their performance was so full of energy and a warm humour. What was also attractive as a producer was that so many of the important elements were already in place. They write and produce everything themselves; their sound is extremely current and very popular in TV and advertising, and they have hundreds of tracks waiting in the wings ready to be purposed. They strike me as very hardworking and hungry to make an impact.

Megan> KHALYSIS have such a stand-out identity, shown in both their music and in their personalities, which they don’t shy away from showing on stage! Georgia and Liv are such a force to be reckoned with when it comes to writing and producing high-quality and original pop music. I loved what I heard in the live-final, but from conversations in recent weeks, I’ve been blown away by the huge repertoire they’ve amassed. 


LBB> You will be working with the winning artists on new releases in the next six months. How will you be collaborating / what are you most looking forward to?

Scott> I will be working alongside Ring The Alarm to release a new EP on BMGPM, building on their already outstanding talent to create a record that we are all very proud of. I think there’s two things I’m most looking forward to - being able to share with the band who their music has been picked up by and ultimately seeing where the band progresses to in their career in the future.

Megan> I’m particularly looking forward to getting both Ring The Alarm and KHALYSIS into the BMG London offices for our Pride showcase in September, to share what myself and the Production Music team have been working on with the rest of BMG. 

John> I am really looking forward to being part of the journey of these releases. Every production requires a different kind of approach so it is always a learning curve for everyone involved but I believe the final product should be something we are all super proud of and ready to shout from the rooftops about.

Left to Right: Ring The Alarm and KHALYSIS


Meet the Artists: Ring The Alarm and KHALYSIS


LBB> Congratulations on being the winners (Ring The Alarm) and runners up (KHALYSIS) at Pride’s Got Talent! Tell us how you felt when you found out?

Ring The Alarm> We felt absolutely ecstatic! So happy!! Performing at Pride’s Got Talent was such an amazing experience. We felt very honoured to have won, particularly because there were so many talented artists on the night of the final and throughout the competition. It felt wonderful to know that we were appreciated by the judges and the wider audience, for our performance. We love what we do and to be given a platform to show others was truly astounding. It was fantastic to receive such an amazing prize of working with BMG Production Music and the additional unexpected prize of performing a showcase with BMG too. This is so exciting!

KHALYSIS> We were so excited to get second place at PGT! We're so grateful to the organisers at Pride's Got Talent for giving us the opportunity to showcase ourselves as well as our original songs at some amazing venues. We never thought that we would get to say that we've performed at Her Majesty's Theatre or a massive stage in Soho packed with people!


LBB> The contest must have been as fun as it was challenging - what has kept you going?

Ring The Alarm> The support from the judges, mentors and all the other fantastic artists was unreal. It felt so good to have our hard work being recognised and appreciated, so we knew we had to keep levelling up. Taking part was a challenge but also an excellent opportunity for growth.

KHALYSIS> Our time in the competition was amazing, we have worked towards showcasing our original songs in London for so long so it was great to finally get the opportunity to do this. It was very nerve wracking performing in such prestigious venues but PGT were so encouraging! The other contestants were so lovely too, so this helped us feel comfortable and as at home as we could considering we had a different accent to most people! 


LBB> Why are talent contests such as this so important for underrepresented artists?

Ring The Alarm> It provides the opportunity to network and show your talent to a wider audience. Pride’s Got Talent being an LGBTQ+ competition brings amazing opportunities for a community that is often overshadowed and put in a box. It allows us to achieve

greatness and express ourselves in our performance without feeling harshly judged.

KHALYSIS> It gave us the opportunity to make long lasting connections and friendships within the industry. With us living quite far away from the capital, London always seems so out of reach for us! We've loved being able to travel down and perform in places we never thought we could. There are very few opportunities where we live so we’re so grateful to PGT for organising this!


LBB> How would you best describe your music?

Ring The Alarm> Our music is diverse and empowering. We want to make everybody feel good when they listen to our songs. If we’re bringing good vibes, we feel like we have done our job right!

KHALYSIS> We try to get involved in as many projects as possible e.g. toplining for DJs and collaborations with other people. However, for our main artist project, we would describe our music as Pop/Reggaeton/Dancehall yet still commercial. We try to include a bit of flavour in each of our songs which are often a stand out instrument e.g. flute/brass which adds a bit of Latin/World vibes to each of our songs. 


LBB> Ring The Alarm, what was your favourite moment of taking part in PGT?

Ring The Alarm> Performing on such a huge and iconic stage was definitely a massive highlight for us, as well as meeting all the other talented and wonderful artists throughout the competition. We made some amazing friends from the competition. We can all learn so much from every performer; making those meaningful connections was incredible.


LBB> As a band, you represent the diversity and multiculturalism of London – how does that influence your music?

Ring The Alarm> We pride ourselves in being the most diverse and multicultural band. This influences our writing style and even the genre of songs we make. We want to involve everyone in our music no matter where you come from. Diversity rules!!


LBB> KHALYSIS, as sisters, how do you find it working alongside each other?

KHALYSIS> Luckily, we get on so well. It could be very difficult to work together 24/7 if we argued the way that some siblings do! We literally never argue, which is not the usual for sisters who spend every day together but we know each other so well that we know what one another is thinking more often than not and it just works! We have the same music taste and similar ideas but bring a different set of skills! However, when it comes to Olivia pinching Georgia’s clothes, it’s a different story! 


LBB> You have around 100 self produced and written original songs. What keeps you inspired?

KHALYSIS> We write songs all day every day, Monday to Friday, and we gig on weekends. This gives us the opportunity to show the songs that we’ve been working on and get feedback. With us being sisters, we work so well together so it’s easy to keep inspired. We do live quite boring lives to be honest so unless we’ve got something special we want to write about, we write about other people's lives or think of scenarios that people may be living through. We feel that our songs and productions can only get better with practice so the more we write, hopefully the better we will become! This is why we try to do this every day! 


LBB> What’s next for you both?

Ring The Alarm> We would like to continue to grow from every experience we are blessed with. We will continue to enjoy our performances and hopefully we’ll get our break! Ultimately it would be a dream come true to get signed to a label.

KHALYSIS> We're hoping to continue writing and release more music this year to increase our online presence. We’re wanting to travel to London more often and hopefully showcase some of our original songs to people in the industry! We know we’re ready to take the next step in our career. We have been working towards this for a long time and so grateful that doors are finally starting to open for us. We have the work ethic and drive, the next plan for us is to build an amazing team that works together to raise each other’s potential. This is an exciting year for us and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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BMG Production Music, Wed, 14 Sep 2022 09:14:00 GMT